Bridge cameras make for excellent travelling companions, offering the flexibility of a zoom range far larger than any DSLR’s lens but in a relatively small body.
While in terms of physical size, the SX60 HS isn’t far off that of an entry-level DSLR, it features a much smaller sensor. It houses a 16.1MP 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor (the same physical size as most compact cameras on the market, but considerably smaller than those used by a DSLR). It does at least bring a jump in four million pixels from its predecessor the SX50 HS.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Price
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- 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 16.1MP
- 21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5 zoom lens
- 3.0-inch vari-angle screen, 922,000 dots
The SX60 HS offers a huge 65x optical zoom lens that provides a 21mm equivalent focal length at the wide-angle end of the range and 1365mm equivalent at the telephoto end. At its widest point, the maximum aperture available is f/3.4, falling to f/6.5 at the zoom end.
Canon also has ZoomPlus technology, a type of digital zoom that boosts that range to 130x, or an incredible equivalent of 2730mm. ZoomPlus retains the resolution of an image shot using the optical zoom by interpolating pixels. A standard digital zoom is available to push that even further to 5460mm, but there will be a loss in image quality.
Full manual control is available, and like the SX50 before it, so is the ability to shoot in raw format – a clear indication that the company expects the PowerShot SX60 HS to be used by advanced enthusiasts. There’s also a range of automatic modes, semi-automatic and scene modes.
For those who like to get creative, there are a couple of options with the PowerShot SX60 HS. First of all, there’s the Creative Shot mode – this will take one shot, plus 5 more with different random effects and crops applied. There’s a variety of various subsets you can choose from, but you don’t get absolute control over the digital filters which are used. Secondly, there is a dedicated filter systems mode which allows you to choose a specific filter.
It’s starting to become more common now, but the SX60 HS is equipped with inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC. This allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to remotely handle the camera, as well as giving you the option of transferring images taken on it quickly to your device for sharing online, via email and so on.
On the back of the camera is fully-articulated, 922,000-dot, 3.0-inch screen. It’s not touch-sensitive though. It is joined by a 922,000-dot, 0.17-inch electronic viewfinder on the top of the camera.
The SX60 HS is a replacement for the SX50 HS which has been on the market for some time now. The SX50 HS boasted a 50x optical zoom, but it also had the ZoomPlus technologies to boost that up to 100x. It also didn’t have inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC, so there have been quite a few improvements made to the camera.
- Optical image stabilization
- Solid metering performance
- 340-shot battery life
The camera’s general-purpose metering system does a good job of producing accurate exposures even in tricky/mixed lighting conditions. I found I hardly ever needed to add or subtract exposure compensation, though it would be handy to be able to do that in the automatic modes if you needed to. It seems strange that it’s only possible in aperture priority or shutter concern.
Automatic white balance does a decent job when faced with different kinds of light, but it does err slightly towards warm or yellowish tones under artificial lighting. Switching to a more appropriate white balance setting fixes this problem though.
It’s important that the zoom is up to scratch with a camera like this, and being a market leader at 65x optical it really needs to deliver. Images taken at the far end of the optical zoom (1560mm equivalent) show a great level of detail and certainly make the camera very flexible to use. If the 65mm isn’t enough – which seems unlikely in most scenarios – you also have the option to utilize ZoomPlus. This also puts in a reasonably good performance and is certainly useful if you do need that extra reach. I’d probably stay clear of the extra digital zoom unless absolutely necessary, as here you can see a much greater loss in quality.
At its widest point, the SX60’s lens offers 21mm, which is great for capturing wide sweeping vistas.
- Photo Effects
- Good detail at low sensitivities
Images straight from the camera are beautifully bright and punchy, displaying a typical level of Canon saturation that I’ve come to expect.
The camera works especially well in good light, putting in a performance that is comparable to a DSLR. At lower sensitivities, the amount of detail resolved is fantastic when examining at 100%, which gives you excellent scope should you wish to crop an image down the line.
As you move up the sensitivity scale, however, the performance dips a little. Examining images taken at ISO 1600 reveals noise at 100% magnification, although overall a decent impression of detail is kept when viewing at normal printing and web sizes. In dark conditions, a fair amount of image smudging can be seen – and not just when viewing images at 100%. Trying to use the extensive zoom range in dark conditions is also difficult as the camera will often struggle to focus.
By examining the raw files we can see how much processing the camera applies to JPEG pictures. If you’re interested in retaining more detail at the expense of sound, it’s good to work with the natural format files.
If you’re using it mainly in good light, or as a holiday camera, you’re going to be extremely pleased with this camera. It’s nice to see Canon thinking about advanced amateurs with this bridge camera offering, for instance by keeping raw format shooting as an option. Manual control and a decent range of dials and buttons also make it likely to appeal to the enthusiast user. Image quality is good, with bright and punchy colours and plenty of detail. In lower lighting, then you will see noise starting to appear if you examine at 100%, and in situations where it’s very dark, the PowerShot SX60 HS struggles, but not any more so than other cameras of its kind. Given its big appearance, it can be hard to remember that at its heart is a small (1/2.3-inch) sensor.
Many people appreciate a viewfinder, and while the electronic device found here on the SX60 HS is large enough to be useful, there’s no eye sensor which makes deploying it a less than seamless transition, which is a touch disappointing. On the plus side, the high-resolution screen is fully articulating, making composing from awkward angles easy, it would have been good to see a touch-sensitive device here though. With a host of interesting and useful features, picking one as a standout feature is fairly tricky, but it probably has to be the incredible zoom range that the SX60 HS offers. Not only is 65x optical zoom versatile, but the performance at the far end of the telephoto optic is also impressive, while even the ZoomPlus is useful if you really do need to get actually closer than the 65x optical zoom allows.